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Elephantopus scaber


Elephantopus scaber

Family Name: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Synonyms: Elephantopus carolinensis, Elephantopus sordidus
Common Name: Tutup Bumi, Elephant's Foot, Bull's tongue, Ironweed, 地胆草, 苦地胆, 鹿耳草(海南)


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 20 cm to 60 cm


Native Distribution Asia, Australia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Naturalised))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial herb up to 0.6 m tall.
Foliage Leaves (5-18 cm long, 2-4 cm wide) are spatulate (spoon-shaped) or oblanceolate (lance-shaped with the wider end closer to the tip). They are arranged in a rosette-like shape.
Stems Stem branches dichotomously (splitting into 2 equal parts). It is densely covered in stiff, white hairs that lie pressed against the stem surface.
Flowers The compound inflorescence is composed of many capitula (compound flowers composed of 4, purplish or pink florets). The floret is composed of 7-9 mm long petals which form a 4-5 mm long tube.
Fruit Dry, one-seeded fruit are known as achenes (4 mm long). They are elongated, angled and covered in soft hairs. The fruit is attached to a pappus which is composed of 5-6, white bristles.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: In many countries of Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa, the plant is widely used in folk medicine to treat nephritis, edema, dampness, chest pain, fever and bladder stones. Roots are used to prevent vomiting, while leaves are used to treat eczema and ulcers. A powdered form is mixed with pepper and applied to sore teeth

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Little Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils, Easy to Grow
Propagation Method Seed


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Smooth, Hairy / Hirsute
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Rosulate / Rosette, Basal
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Spathulate, Oblanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed, Crenate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Rounded
Foliar Base Attenuate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Purple, Pink
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Head / Capitulum
Inflorescence Type Remarks Compound inflorescence composed of many capitula.

Image Repository



Master ID 690
Species ID 5210
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 24 April 2024.